The Datamax Thinking Blog

Educating, collaborating, and sparking ideas for maximizing the technology that matters.


It's all about efficiency and productivity

By Corey Smith

Last year AIIM released the Records Management Report.

One of the questions that was asked was why people would consider implementing an electronic content (record) management system (often we simply call it document management). I find the results very interesting, but not surprising.

The two most important reasons that companies want to implement an electronic document management system are (1) efficiency and productivity and (2) compliance to legal regulations (FACTA, SOX, HIPPA, etc).


But, what I think I find even more interesting is what was left off the answers. That was, reduced paper in the workplace.

I find that especially interesting because when I talk to people, the most common thing I hear is when I ask people why they want to scan all of their documents is, "I just want to get rid of my file cabinets." I think that it is admirable to get rid of file cabinets. Heaven knows that I would love to see all of our file cabinets go away, but does that really help us?

Just because our file cabinets go away, do we really increase our efficiency and productivity? Just because our file cabinets go away, do we really become more compliant with regulatory requirements?

The answer is... maybe.

If all we want to do is remove paper from our office, we may not need a document management database. Oh, there are plenty of "document management specialists" or "imaging specialists" that will tell you that their $10K + system is exactly what you need, but with the proper scanning system, we find that there are a lot of things we can do with document management that many people may never consider.

That is why it is so important to work with someone that understands document systems from start to finish.

Corey Smith is editor-in-chief for OfficeProductNews.net and provides a common sense approach to business and technology in his blog.

Why Buy a Document Management System

from ScanGuru

The Business World is a rapidly changing entity, and technology helps adapt to these changes quickly and will help a company keep its competitive advantage. Paper has always been an inefficient medium for conducting business processes, and recently has become a key focus for Business Process Improvement (BPI) initiatives. So what are the main reasons for a company or organization to move towards the paperless environment?

Below are the two main categories:

Operation Efficiency and Business Process Improvement

Through the use of a DM/ECM system, operational costs can be reduced. A primary example of this is floor space. A 4 drawer file cabinet takes up about 8 square feet of floor space. Multiply this by the number of cabinets and what you pay per square foot on a lease, and this can be a significant waste of dollars. Along this same vein we can examine the costs of handling and process paper documents. It is estimated that a single file folder can cost $25-50 to create, and that a lost file has a cost of $125 – 300 (depending on the cost of the employee time and recreation costs). This is a small sampling of how Operational costs can be reduced.
 Using a digital repository can improve productivity. This is an obvious benefit. Any time you can reduce the time required to perform a required task, that time can be applied elsewhere. A basic online search for a customer file requires about 5 seconds. To accomplish the same information lookup with a physical file cabinet can take 10 – 25 minutes, or perhaps even days if the file is held in offsite storage. This is just for basic lookups, and not complex searches, which could take weeks if performed through the physical file system.
 A DM/ECM system can provide improved customer service. Take for example a large HMO Claims Department. Members call with questions about claims, and with the old paper system, they were put on hold until the physical claim could be retrieved. Now, it is viewed instantly, and information passed within minutes.
-Managing customer documents efficiently can lead to improved customer retention and acquisition. The ability to manage contracts, expiration dates, equipment lists, etc. quickly and easily, along with improved customer service, will ultimately result in enhanced retention and acquisition if managed correctly.
All of the above will result in improved operating margins, and ultimately, increased profits.

Risk Reduction

DM/ECM systems are imperative to those organizations subject that are subject to compliance laws and regulations. The ability to produce records, provide documentation during audits, track access to documents, and track transactions is now required in certain business verticals. Financial Firms, Non-profits, Healthcare, Government and others are now required by law to fully manage and track many operations within their business. ECM/DM system vendors have focused on these requirements and the law to ensure compliance when it comes to retaining and tracking documentation and access to records.
 A document repository can reduce litigation exposure for an organization. The ability to retain and recall documentation and records at a moments notice can be imperative in any legal situation.
 Document Security is often an overlooked area within an organization’s security plan. An online system gives the ability to track access, changes, additions, deletions, etc.
 An ECM/DM system allows for the backup of critical files. What would happen to an organization if their file room was destroyed by a fire or flood? Business Continuity Planning is a critical theme today, allowing an organization to insure that a disaster of any kind will not bring business to a halt. Scanning paper files provides the ability to backup and restore key business documentation.
 

This article is reposted from ScanGuru.

Securing the Multifunctional Device

By Corey Smith

Every six months or so, comes a concern via the media that the MFP, or multifunction printer, is not secure and causes security holes on your network. When considering security on your network, there are some common sense approaches to ensuring you are protected from harm.

At eWeek, Rosen Sharma wrote a very simple article on securing your MFP. The article opens with the following:

Think you’ve plugged all of the vulnerabilities in your enterprise network? How about that multifunction printer over there in the sales department? As Dr. Rosen Sharma, president and CTO of Solidcore Systems explains, these devices frequently contain operating systems that are just as vulnerable to malware as your desktop computers.


While I think that this statement is a little sensational, I think that there are some underlying issues that need to be addressed. Fortunately, there are a few simple things that can be done. He lists three ways to ensure security of your mfp. Here are the two that I think that you can do right now that are simple and any network admin can do this.

Lock down and control access to the system Apply patches on a schedule

They aren't revolutionary as they are the same types of things that you should do with your desktops and servers, but knowing the risk gets you closer to gaining security.

If you are interested in the full article, go to eWeek.

Corey Smith is editor-in-chief for OfficeProductNews.net and provides a common sense approach to business and technology in his blog.

Improve Productivity and Profit by Restructuring Business Processes

Are you looking for ways to improve your business? An excellent place to start is by looking at your business processes.

Regardless of what industry you are in, paper and digital documents are the vehicles by which information flows through your business. The efficiency of this process can greatly affect the productivity of your office and ultimately, your success.

The good news is that new technology can help improve your business by streamlining the flow of information. This process enhancement can make a tremendous impact including the following:

Increasing Profits Enhancing Competitive Advantage Improving Customer Service Ensuring Regulatory Compliance

The first step when considering how to better organize a process is to ask, “What is the final goal of this process?” For example, the final goal of a delivery process is to get the invoice paid.

The second step is to plan out the process step by step, looking for inefficiencies and the use of manual labor. Mapping out all the steps reveals bottlenecks that can be eradicated and manual steps that can easily be automated. This makes it easy to create a faster and more predictable process.

Document management technology can easily be integrated into your processes to eliminate inefficiencies and enable you to do more with less.